Boris Johnson’s government is seeking staff for a “union unit” aimed at countering support for Scottish independence – but knowledge of Scotland is not deemed essential for the job.
The Cabinet Office has begun advertising for four roles in policy and strategy, as it seeks to bolster its union-saving efforts ahead of Scottish parliamentary elections this spring.
The job ad at Michael Gove’s department demands candidates “demonstrate good political judgement” and have the “credibility to build a strong network of relationships across Whitehall”.
However, it states that “understanding of policy issues relevant to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland” is only “desirable” – rather than essential.
A separate job ad has revealed the Cabinet Office is also searching for a data specialist to develop a “Live Union Dashboard” – an online platform used to present the latest data on the health of the union.
The number-cruncher will not be required to know issues relevant to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to the recruitment notice on the civil service website.
The SNP’s deputy leader Keith Brown said the job ads “reeked of arrogance” and showed why the union unit was “doomed to fail” at keeping the UK intact.
“It reeks of Westminster arrogance that the Tories are willing to hire a senior staff member who lacks a basic understanding of issues relevant to Scotland,” said Mr Brown. “The taxpayer shouldn’t be paying through the nose for this Tory flag waving exercise.”
The new policy roles in the Cabinet Office unit aiming to maintain “the integrity of the United Kingdom” are available in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. The pay will be between £60,000 to £70,000, according to the listing on ZipRecruiter.
The ad states: “The Union Directorate is a small, focused team of policy professionals, analysts, comms experts … with a focus on making the benefits of the union clear, visible and understood.”
Mr Johnson and Mr Gove are also in the process of replacing the head of the unit following reports of a bust-up over No 10’s strategy to counter rising poll support for Scottish independence.
Former Scottish Tory MP Luke Graham is leaving and Oliver Lewis – a leading figure in the recent Brexit negotiations – is expected to take over the expanded team.
The Independent has approached the Cabinet Office for comment.